Greatest Film Directors
and Their Best Films

Part 2

Greatest Film Directors
(alphabetical)
Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 , Part 6

Greatest Film Directors: These honored selections are designed as a tribute to some of the greatest directors of predominantly English-language films, with suggested or recommended Best Films or 'Must-See' Films from their filmographies. See also this site's multi-part compilation of other deserved film directors (alphabetical) - More Great Film Directors.

Key to Iconic Symbols: The following sources are indicated by icons in Filmsite's compilation:

Entries in Entertainment Weekly's (April 19, 1996 issue) list of "The 50 Greatest Directors and Their 100 Best Movies" in a cover-story article - with ranking number (#)
Entries in the UK Empire Magazine's "Top 40 Greatest Directors of All-Time" conducted in 2005 - with ranking number (#)
Filmsite's selections of the "50 Greatest Film Directors" - without ranking numbers.

The Greatest Directors and Their Best Films
Part 2
(Alphabetical Order, Unranked)

ROGER CORMAN 1926-
Extremely Prolific King (Producer and Director) of the Independents and Classic, Tacky, Low-Budget B's (Horror and Sci-Fi) and Drive-In Movies

Suggested Filmography: Swamp Women (1955), The Day the World Ended (1956), It Conquered the World (1956), Not of This Earth (1957), The Undead (1957), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Sorority Girl (1957), Machine-Gun Kelly (1958), A Bucket of Blood (1959), House of Usher (1960), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), The Wasp Woman (1960), The Intruder (1961), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962), X - The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Raven (1963), The Terror (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), The Tomb of Ligeia (1965), The Wild Angels (1966), The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), The Trip (1967), Bloody Mama (1970), Death Race 2000 (1975), Frankenstein Unbound (1990).

DAVID CRONENBERG 1943-
Low-Budget, Gory, Repulsive, Frightening, Innovative "Baron of Blood" Horror Film Director from Canada

Audacious Canadian director specializing in "Body Horror" and psycho-sexual themes.

Suggested Filmography: Shivers/They Came From Within (1975), Rabid (1977), The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), Videodrome (1983), The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), Naked Lunch (1991), M. Butterfly (1993), Crash (1996), eXistenZ (1999), Spider (2002), A History of Violence (2005), Eastern Promises (2007), A Dangerous Method (2011), Cosmopolis (2012).



# 18

GEORGE CUKOR 1899-1983
Cosmopolitan, Refined "Woman's" Director During 50 Year Career

Wit and class distinguish his sophisticated pictures, which star Katharine and Audrey Hepburn and Greta Garbo.

Suggested Filmography: A Bill of Divorcement (1932), One Hour With You (1932), What Price Hollywood? (1932), Little Women (1933), Dinner at Eight (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Camille (1936), Romeo and Juliet (1936), Sylvia Scarlett (1936), Holiday (1938), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938), Gone With The Wind (1939) (partial), The Women (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Gaslight (1944), A Double Life (1947), Adam's Rib (1949), Born Yesterday (1950), The Marrying Kind (1952), Pat and Mike (1952), A Star is Born (1954), It Should Happen to You (1954), Lust for Life (1956) (co-director, uncredited), Bhowani Junction (1956), Les Girls (1957), Let's Make Love (1960), My Fair Lady (1964), Travels With My Aunt (1972), Rich and Famous (1981).

MICHAEL CURTIZ 1888-1962
Hollywood's Most Prolific, Skilled and Colorful Hungarian-born Director of the 30s and 40s

He made Casablanca and Elvis Presley's King Creole, along with dozens of movies in every genre, from action to horror to melodrama.

Suggested Filmography: Cabin in the Cotton (1932), Doctor X (1932), The Kennel Murder Case (1933), The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), Captain Blood (1935), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Walking Dead (1936), Anthony Adverse (1936), Kid Galahad (1937), Marked Woman (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Angels With Dirty Faces (1938), Four Daughters (1938), Dodge City (1939), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), The Sea Hawk (1940), Virginia City (1940), The Sea Wolf (1941), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Casablanca (1942), This is the Army (1943), Passage to Marseille (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), Night and Day (1946), Life With Father (1947), The Unsuspected (1947), My Dream Is Yours (1949), Flamingo Road (1949), Young Man With a Horn (1950), Jim Thorpe - All American (1951), The Egyptian (1954), White Christmas (1954), We're No Angels (1955), The Proud Rebel (1958), King Creole (1958), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), The Comancheros (1961).

CECIL B. DE MILLE 1881-1959
Master Director and "Showman" of the Big Budget, Excessive Historical Epic and Religious Spectacle/Pageant

He was the first master of big-budget event movies, with two The Ten Commandments films and The Greatest Show on Earth.

Suggested Filmography: The Squaw Man (in three versions 1914, 1918, 1931), The Cheat (1915), Joan the Woman (1916), Male and Female (1919), Forbidden Fruit (1921), The Ten Commandments (1923), The King of Kings (1927), Madam Satan (1930), The Sign of the Cross (1932), Cleopatra (1934), The Crusades (1935), The Plainsman (1936), The Buccaneer (1938), Union Pacific (1939), North West Mounted Police (1940), Reap the Wild Wind (1942), The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944), Unconquered (1947), Samson and Delilah (1949), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), The Ten Commandments (1956).



# 45
JONATHAN DEMME 1944-
Hip, Critically-Admired and Mainstream Director of Quirky and Dramatic Tales in the 80s and 90s

Suggested Filmography: Caged Heat (1974), Crazy Mama (1975), Last Embrace (1979), Melvin and Howard (1980), Stop Making Sense (1984), Swing Shift (1984), Something Wild (1986), Swimming to Cambodia (1987), Married to the Mob (1988), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1993), Beloved (1998), The Truth About Charlie (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006), Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (2007), Rachel Getting Married (2008), Fear of Falling (2013).



# 27
BRIAN DE PALMA 1940-
Dynamic Director of Lurid, Excessive, Psychological Thrillers/Melodramas With Hitchcock-Like Style

A seventies film-school prodigy, he made Carrie and Scarface but specialized in Hitchcockian thrillers like Dressed to Kill and Body Double.

Suggested Filmography: Greetings (1968), Hi, Mom! (1970), Sisters (1973), Phantom of the Paradise (1974), Carrie (1976), Obsession (1976), The Fury (1978), Dressed To Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981), Scarface (1983), Body Double (1984), Wise Guys (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Casualties of War (1989), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Raising Cain (1992), Carlito's Way (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996), Snake Eyes (1998), Mission to Mars (2000), Femme Fatale (2002), The Black Dahlia (2006), Redacted (2007), Passion (2012).

WALT DISNEY 1901-1966
Visionary and Producer of Major Entertainment Empire and Film Art-Animation

Suggested Filmography: Steamboat Willie (1928) (director), Flowers and Trees (1932), The Three Little Pigs (1933), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Ferdinand the Bull (1938), Fantasia (1940), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Peter and the Wolf (1946), Casey at the Bat (1946), Song of the South (1946), Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947), Johnny Appleseed (1948), Wind in the Willows (1949), The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958), Sleeping Beauty (1959), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), Mary Poppins (1965), The Jungle Book (1967).



# 11
CLINT EASTWOOD 1930-
Versatile Actor/Producer Turned Director Noted Originally as TV Actor and Star of Italian-Made "Spaghetti" Westerns

The TV actor turned spaghetti-Western star became an A-list director with Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby.

Suggested Filmography: Play Misty for Me (1971), High Plains Drifter (1972), Breezy (1973), The Eiger Sanction (1975), The Outlaw-Josey Wales (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Bronco Billy (1980), Firefox (1982), Honkytonk Man (1982), Sudden Impact (1983), Pale Rider (1985), Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Bird (1988), The Rookie (1990), White Hunter, Black Heart (1990), Unforgiven (1992), A Perfect World (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Absolute Power (1997), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), True Crime (1999), Space Cowboys (2000), Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Changeling (2008), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Jersey Boys (2014).



# 29
SERGEI EISENSTEIN 1898-1948
Russian Director of Only Seven Films - Although Highly Influential

Suggested Filmography: Strike (1924), Battleship Potemkin (1925), October/10 Days That Shook the World (1927), The General Line (1929), Que Viva Mexico! (1932), Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ivan the Terrible, Part One (1944), Ivan the Terrible, Part Two (1946).



# 10

FEDERICO FELLINI 1920-1993
Visionary, Surrealistic Italian Screenwriter and Director

Suggested Filmography: Open City (1945), Paisan (1946), The White Sheik (1952), I Vitelloni (1953), La Strada (1954), Il Bidone (1955), Nights of Cabiria (1957), La Dolce Vita (1960), 8 1/2 (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Fellini Satyricon (1969), Fellini's Roma (1972), Amarcord (1973).

VICTOR FLEMING 1883-1949
'Director' of Two of MGM's Greatest Films

Suggested Filmography: The Virginian (1929), Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), Treasure Island (1934), Reckless (1935), Captains Courageous (1937), The Good Earth (1937) (uncredited), Test Pilot (1938), Gone With The Wind (1939), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), Tortilla Flat (1942), A Guy Named Joe (1943), Joan of Arc (1948).



# 3
# 18

JOHN FORD 1894-1973
Talented, Superior, Durable and Prolific Film-maker, Master of Hollywood Westerns, Documentaries, and Irish Period Pieces

The quintessential Westerner, he made icons of Monument Valley and John Wayne in the classics Stagecoach and The Searchers.

Suggested Filmography: The Secret Man (1917), The Iron Horse (1924), The Lost Patrol (1934), The Informer (1935), The Whole Town's Talking (1935), The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Mary of Scotland (1936), The Hurricane (1937), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Stagecoach (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Long Voyage Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Tobacco Road (1941), The Battle of Midway (1942) (doc.), December 7th (1943) (doc.), They Were Expendable (1945), My Darling Clementine (1946), The Fugitive (1947), 3 Godfathers (1948), "Cavalry Trilogy": Fort Apache (1948), Pinky (1949) (uncredited), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Rio Grande (1950); Wagonmaster (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), Mogambo (1953), The Long Gray Line (1955), Mister Roberts (1955), The Searchers (1956), The Wings of Eagles (1957), The Last Hurrah (1958), The Horse Soldiers (1959), Sergeant Rutledge (1960), Two Rode Together (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Donovan's Reef (1963), Cheyenne Autumn (1964), 7 Women (1966).



# 39
TERRY GILLIAM 1940-
Former Monty Python Team Member, Contemporary Director of Bizarre Comedy-Fantasies

Suggested Filmography: And Now For Something Completely Different (1971), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Jabberwocky (1977), Time Bandits (1981), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), Brazil (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Tideland (2005), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).



# 31
JEAN-LUC GODARD 1930-
French Director, Noted as Ex-Cahiers du Cinema Critic and New Wave Filmmaker

Suggested Filmography: Breathless (1959), Une Femme est une Femme (1960), Contempt (1963), Vivre sa Vie (1963), Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965), Pierrot le fou (1965), Masculin Feminin (1966), Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966), Weekend (1967), La Chinoise (1967), Numero Deux (1975), Every Man for Himself (1980), Passion (1982), Hail Mary (1985), Nouvelle Vague (1990), In Praise of Love (2001), Notre Musique (2004).



# 15

D. W. GRIFFITH 1875-1948
Cinema's First Major Artist, Landmark Story-Teller and Feature Film Maker, A Pioneering Silent Film-Maker Often Considered the 'Father of Modern Filmmaking'

The father of modern moviemaking, he pioneered film language in such milestones as The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance.

Suggested Filmography: The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912), The Girl and Her Trust (1912), Judith of Bethulia (1914), The Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance (1916), Hearts of the World (1918), Broken Blossoms (1919), True Heart Susie (1919), Way Down East (1920), Orphans of the Storm (1922), America (1924), Isn't Life Wonderful (1924), Sally of the Sawdust (1925), The Sorrows of Satan (1926), Abraham Lincoln (1930), One Million B.C. (1940).



# 4
# 21

HOWARD HAWKS 1896-1977
Popular, Versatile, Stylistic Director of Many Film Genres (Screwball Comedy, Film Noirs, Westerns, Gangster Films, War Movies, Literary Adaptations, etc.) During Hollywood's Golden Age in the Studio Era

Funny, tough, and funny-tough, he went from Scarface to His Girl Friday and from To Have and Have Not to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Suggested Filmography: A Girl in Every Port (1928), Hell's Angels (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), The Crowd Roars (1932), Scarface: The Shame of the Nation (1932), Twentieth Century (1934), Viva Villa! (1934), Barbary Coast (1935), Come and Get It (1936), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Ball of Fire (1941), Sergeant York (1941), The Outlaw (1943) (uncredited), Air Force (1943), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948), A Song is Born (1948), I Was a Male War Bride (1949), The Thing (From Another World) (1951) - uncredited, Monkey Business (1952), The Big Sky (1952), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Land of the Pharaohs (1955), Rio Bravo (1959), Hatari! (1962), Man's Favorite Sport (1964), El Dorado (1967), Rio Lobo (1970).



# 35
WERNER HERZOG 1942-
German Director of the New German Cinema Movement

Suggested Filmography: Signs of Life (1968), Land of Silence and Darkness (1971), Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (1974), The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1975), Stroszek (1977), Woyzeck (1978), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Cobra Verde (1988), Lessons in Darkness (1992), The White Diamond (2004), Grizzly Man (2005), The Wild Blue Yonder (2005), Rescue Dawn (2006), Encounters at the End of the World (2007), The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009).



# 1
# 2
ALFRED HITCHCOCK 1899-1980
Acknowledged British Master of Manipulative Terror and Thrillers, Widely Known as the "Master of Suspense" and Arguably the Most Imitated Director of All Time; also Host of His Own TV Mystery Series

A master of suspense and gallows humor, he turned out classic after classic, including Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds.

See Hitchcock's Memorable Cameo Appearances

Suggested Filmography: The Lodger (1926), Blackmail (1929), Murder! (1930), Rich and Strange (1932), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Jamaica Inn (1939), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Rebecca (1940), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), Suspicion (1941), Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), The Paradine Case (1947), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949), Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951), I Confess (1953), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), The Trouble With Harry (1955), To Catch a Thief (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956, remake), The Wrong Man (1956), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), Torn Curtain (1966), Topaz (1969), Frenzy (1972), Family Plot (1976).



# 33
RON HOWARD 1954-
Young Child Performer Turned Director

Suggested Filmography: Night Shift (1982), Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Gung Ho (1986), Willow (1988), Parenthood (1989), Backdraft (1991), Far and Away (1992), The Paper (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Ransom (1996), EdTV (1999), Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Missing (2003), Cinderella Man (2005), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Frost/Nixon (2008), Angels & Demons (2009), Rush (2013).



# 13

JOHN HUSTON 1906-1987
Legendary, Prodigious, Top-Notch American Director and Storyteller (also Actor and Scriptwriter) of Brilliantly-Crafted Films From All Genres

Artistic, macho, and intellectual, Huston had a career spanning four decades, from The Maltese Falcon to Prizzi's Honor.

Suggested Filmography: The Maltese Falcon (1941), Across the Pacific (1942), In This Our Life (1942), Key Largo (1948), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), Beat the Devil (1953), Moby Dick (1956), A Farewell to Arms (1957), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), The Unforgiven (1960), The Misfits (1961), Freud (1962), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), The Night of the Iguana (1964), The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), The Kremlin Letter (1970), Fat City (1972), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), The Mackintosh Man (1973), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Wise Blood (1979), Victory (1981), Annie (1982), Under the Volcano (1984), Prizzi's Honor (1985), The Dead (1987).



# 7
PETER JACKSON 1961-
New Zealand-Born Director Best Known for The Lord of the Rings and Hobbitt Trilogies

This New Zealand-born movie buff started small with the low-budget Bad Taste and worked his way up to the epic The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

Suggested Filmography: Bad Taste (1987), Meet the Feebles (1989), Dead Alive (1992), Heavenly Creatures (1994), The Frighteners (1996), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), King Kong (2005), Crossing the Line (2008), The Lovely Bones (2009), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2014).

ELIA KAZAN 1909-2003
Controversial American Stage and Film Director of Gritty Psychological Dramas and Message Movies

In A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, this controversial director made gritty psychological dramas with resonance.

Suggested Filmography: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), The Sea of Grass (1947), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Boomerang! (1947), Pinky (1949), Panic in the Streets (1950), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Viva Zapata! (1952), Man on a Tightrope (1953), On the Waterfront (1954), East of Eden (1955), Baby Doll (1956), A Face in the Crowd (1957), Wild River (1960), Splendor in the Grass (1961), America, America (1963), The Arrangement (1969), The Visitors (1972), The Last Tycoon (1976).



# 7
BUSTER KEATON 1895-1966
The Great Stone Face, Silent Comedian/Stuntman and Director Noted for Risk-taking Physical Comedy

Suggested Filmography: One Week (1920), The Playhouse (1921), The Boat (1921), Cops (1922), Our Hospitality (1923), The Three Ages (1923), The Balloonatic (1923), The Navigator (1924), Sherlock Jr. (1924), Go West (1925), Seven Chances (1925), Battling Butler (1926), College (1927), The General (1927), The Cameraman (1928), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), Spite Marriage (1929).



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